Getting snowed in could be a great thing if you just unplug.

Share story

If you’re young and dating someone, and you ever want to be happily married — watch the disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival documentaries airing on Netflix and Hulu, and then give me a call. I am not an influencer, and neither is my wife. But 2019 is Loretta’s and my 20th anniversary of an absurdly happy marriage. And as #SnowMageddon2019 shuts down our region, it occurred to me that maybe there is some influence we have yet to unleash.

Yes, I know the Fyre story has nothing to do with marriage or relationships. But if that ridiculous spectacle is good for anything, perhaps it will serve as a wake-up call for young people. Perhaps the whole Fyre phenomenon stands for the proposition that the social-media obsession currently gripping our younger generations is more than just bad – it’s cheese sandwich, wet mattress, bad.

So what does #SnowMageddon2019 have to do with Fyre and marriage?

In 1996, Loretta and I were newly dating and got snowed in during one of the biggest snowstorms this area has ever seen. It started on Christmas night and continued for the next four days. Fortunately for us, cellphones were neither smart nor useful. Email barely existed, and social media was not a thing. There was cable TV and video tapes. That’s right, tapes, not even DVDs. You can only watch the movie “Beaches” so many times. (We were at her place.)

The lack of connection to our jobs, our friends, our families and entertainment meant one thing: We got to know each other. We cooked. We watched movies. We talked. And we did the other stuff newly dating couples do when snowed in. Come to think of it, we did that a lot. Stretched out over five days, this was the defining week of our relationship. We still credit the experience with creating a momentum that led to our marriage in 1999.

Now we have three kids (ages 18, 16 and 14), a dog, an RV and a mortgage. We have both crested 50, and we continue to have fun with each other and with our kids. We also still enjoy a good snow storm. Our advice? Relax, disconnect and enjoy the snow.

Somewhere this week in Seattle there was a young couple snowed in at the beginning of their relationship. Hopefully, they are not so mesmerized by social media and the never-ending Netflix choices to truly enjoy each other’s company and learn each other’s secrets. Because if they don’t allow the snow to stop time, to help them disconnect from the world outside — while they connect inside — they may ultimately become the Greatest Relationship That Never Happened.